I am such an asshole. I have to wonder why anyone comments on this blog, as I am fitfully likely to go off on them regarding the tiniest thing, in the most gonzo-grumpiest way possible, generally in the mode of righteous indignation. Call it my fanboy-style if you will; there’s no doubt I’ve gathered the reputation for thinking this game was designed for me, personally, and that I, personally, will judge what is right and wrong in how the game is played.
Sometimes, it’s a bit funny.
This is my way. I am a fanboy. If the gentle reader feels I am being too hard here, I’m every bit as nasty when it comes to the non-believer. I get into everyone’s hostile little face. Yes, these are 20-sided dice. Yes, I’m comfortable with that. I am enlightened.
It is not so much that I think that the reader might be playing the game wrong, it is just that, well ... you’re playing it wrong. Probably. If you comfortably feel that I have gone off my rocker and I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about, then I probably AM wrong and you likely ARE playing the game correctly. But there are hundreds in the blogosphere, and tens of thousands out there, who are frustrated, out of ideas, creatively bankrupt and lacking in a game to play ... many more than are sitting around tables playing worlds that work. Please give that some thought. After thirty years, the greater majority of people try this game, fail this game and discard this game, than ever play it regularly ... and among those who DO play it regularly, it is played intermittently, inconsistently, irresolutely and generally towards a lack of satisfaction. Most people who have played this game, or who are playing it now, either failed to understand that it could have been better, or worse, are trapped in the dim periphery that it MUST be better, but right now it I’SNT. And it may never have been.
Prior to the invention of this blogosphere of D&D writers, this dissatisfaction was deliberated chiefly between players and shop vendors – the latter standing around rather bored, or perhaps with the insidious intent of selling one more piece of crap to a drowning RPG’er. Apart from the vendor, in a large city a school age player was limited to those living in the neighbourhood, or going to their school. In a small city or town, this might be no one at all. An adult could try the local university, if there was one, and expect to find a small, elitist sect of cultish followers to whatever RPG god was prevalent at the time. This game has not existed in an environment of choice or competition. You took what you could get.
As small as this paltry sample of the population was, it was subdivided further – criminally, I would argue – by the (there is no polite word) fuckness of the distributor, ubermaster of the vendor, insisting on subdividing this narrow market not one or twice, but repeatedly, to a degree that can only be described as rabid. But right or wrong, however, we are stuck with it.
However ... now that this community has been finally brought together in the last five years, it would be nice to think that we could get along. But we can’t. We’ve been living in the wilderness these past twenty-five years and let’s face it, we HATE each other’s way of playing. We were brought up in this system, or that system, or the old system, or the new system, or we’ve been working in our basement apart from everybody or we spent five years inside WOTC and we have the Word of God to back us up. The distributors are still trying to cut this game up piecemeal and there’s little incentive among anyone to agree steadfastly on any sort of solid state system for the game.
That may seem a little confrontational to you. If you have a blog, however, you must underestimate the number who sneer at the work you’re trying to do, but who never bother to comment. Why should they? Why would anyone comment here, who didn’t feel compelled to stick their head into a bear trap? Why would I comment on certain blogs whose mundane or insipid material compels me to feel a cloying lethargy I can’t adequately describe? This is human nature. We don’t admit human nature because it’s wrong; if you can’t say anything nice and all that.
Problem is, tripping all over ourselves to be polite and kind to other people whose games strike us as an evening in hell with rabbit turd pizza on the side doesn’t move anyone playing this game towards a viable conclusion on how it should be played. The so-called original D&D Renaissance is an attempt to do that, but so far all it has managed to do is create countless protesting/divisive blog posts on how to DEFINE original D&D. As if that were the principal issue. The argument has all the clarity of a congressional (parliamentary) fact-finding study.
It is for these reasons that I behave like such a shit on this blog. Look, please understand. Half the time I wouldn’t play in most of the campaigns described on a fucking bet, no matter how hard up I was for play. I’d rather play WoW. I won’t pay lip service to someone else’s campaign; it’s all I can do not to scream like a feral panther on other people’s blogs when I see things that disturb me down to my core. I don’t like the way these people play. I want to say so, and I want to say it often, in between offering other ways to play, other things to think about, and other solutions to problems that distributors seem to deliberately ignore. I dedicate thousands and thousands of words to both these mandates.
People out there are fucked. I want that on record.